Bob Weir and John Mayer – Althea (Live on the Late Late Show in 2015)

So it turns out the rumors are true. Three of the Grateful Dead’s “core four” – Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann, and Mickey Hart – are forming a band with John Mayer (and Jeff Chimenti on keys, with the great Oteil Burbridge on bass). Mike Gordon of Phish was in the running for bass, but bowed out because of other commitments. That definitely would have been interesting, but Burbridge is an outstanding bass player with a strong background – formerly of Allman Brothers and Tedeschi Trucks – in expansive, exploratory rock bands.

This might be a taste of what’s to come. You’re going to hear a lot of complaining from the haters, but Mayer is a fascinating choice. He’s new to the Dead’s music – didn’t start listening until 2011 or something – so he brings a fresh enthusiasm to it. As the story goes, he was listening to a Pandora station, “Althea” popped up, and he was hooked. He literally hopped out of the pool, and ran inside to see what the song was. Which must be why it was one of two songs he played with Bobby on Late Late Night (the other was “Truckin'”).

Also, Jim Keltner.